An Analysis of Fake Narratives on Social Media during 2019 Indonesian Presidential Election

Vience Mutiara Rumata, Fajar Kuala Nugraha


Social media become a public sphere for political discussion in the world, with no exception in Indonesia. Social media have broadened public engagement but at the same time, it creates an inevitable effect of polarization particularly during the heightened political situation such as a presidential election. Studies found that there is a correlation between fake news and political polarization. In this paper, we identify and the pattern of fake narratives in Indonesia in three different time frames: (1) the Presidential campaign (23 September 2018 -13 April 2019); (2) the vote (14-17 April 2019); (3) the announcement (21-22 May 2019).  We extracted and analyzed a data-set consisting of 806,742 Twitter messages, 143 Facebook posts, and 16,082 Instagram posts. We classified 43 fake narratives where Twitter was the most used platform to distribute fake narratives massively. The accusation of Muslim radical group behind Prabowo and Communist accusation towards the incumbent President Joko Widodo were the two top fake narratives during the campaign on Twitter and Facebook. The distribution of fake narratives to Prabowo was larger than that to Joko Widodo on those three platforms in this period. On the contrary, the distribution of fake narratives to Joko Widodo was significantly larger than that to Prabowo during the election and the announcement periods. The death threat of Joko Widodo was top fake narratives on these three platforms.


Keywords: Fake narratives, Indonesian presidential election, social media, political polarization, post.

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